Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to not ever do anything else for a living ever again but write stories about monsters and skeletons and old dark houses. I would dearly love to write and dream for eight hours a day, instead of around eight hours a month, which seems closer to the mark I usually hit these days. I’m just not in any particular hurry to do so, and, not to put too fine a point on it, here’s why:
Over on her journal, Caitlin R. Kiernan recently wrote: If, tomorrow, someone gave me enough money that I would never have to sing for my supper again, I’d spend the rest of my life birdwatching, curating my gigantic and mostly uncurated fossil collection, reading, exploring New England, and just being alive. I’d probably never write much of anything else ever again.
The reason I’m not in any hurry to write for a living is because right now I can’t say the same thing. If you asked me, right now, what I’d do if someone gave me so much money that I’d never have to work again, I’d probably tell you that I’d spend the rest of my days reading books and comics, watching monster movies, and writing, publishing, and masterminding the same. This, right here, basically, is what I would do if I didn’t have to do anything else. Sure, I’d probably do it a little differently, but it’s still what I’d do, more or less. And I want it to stay that way. I’d rather do what I’m doing now–spend my days at a job that pays the bills and want so badly to be writing instead–than ever feel like saying the words, “I would probably never write much of anything else ever again.”
And I need to make it clear that this isn’t because I think Caitlin R. Kiernan is somehow wrong to feel the way that she does. If I thought she was wrong to feel that way, then maybe I’d be out pursuing a career as a full-time writer more fervently. The thing is, though, I can see myself saying those things, too, someday. I can see myself being in those shoes. And maybe it’s cowardice, or sour grapes, because I know deep down that even if I did try harder I don’t have the talent or the discipline or the perseverance to be a professional writer right now. And I know that it’s a false dilemma, and that if my circumstances changed in the right ways I’d take the job in a heartbeat, but right now I’d rather love something and not be able to do it all the time than be able to do something all the time and not love it anymore.